Derby County defender Curtis Davies had to play in protective mask against Hull City last Saturday and is set to do so once again this weekend against Middlesbrough.

The centre-back suffered a broken nose following a boot to the face in the Rams’ last home fixture against Wigan Athletic towards the end of October.

Davies put his body, and face, on the line to ensure the Rams secured a valuable three points at Pride Park Stadium courtesy of Graeme Shinnie’s strike in second half additional time to claim a 1-0 win.

“I can breathe and that is a big bonus,” Davies admitted, speaking to RamsTV ahead of tomorrow’s game against Middlesbrough (3pm kick-off).

“The nose is a little bit bent now and I think I have more of a face for radio than TV! It is one of those things that happens in football.

“As a defender, you put your body on the line. You get kicked and the way I got kicked in the head, it could have been a lot worse. I am grateful it is just this to be honest.

“I don’t know any other way than to carry on. I struggled breathing through my nose in the game against Wigan, I had a couple of thick tissues stuck up my nose.

“I was able to carry on so I was alright. Strangely, afterwards there wasn’t too much pain, it is more the bleeding and everything coming out and the sensitivity of it.

“Luckily, I think I got away with the pain side of it, but I’ve got a bit of a bent hooter now, so my modelling days are definitely over.

“The bruises are slowly going away, but it is Halloween so luckily, I don’t need to wear a mask!”

Tomorrow, the Rams face Middlesbrough, who have struggled for form so far this season.

Jonathan Woodgate’s men sit in the relegation places in the Sky Bet Championship and have found goals hard to come by in their recent fixtures.

Derby’s away form has been a stark contrast to their fortunes on home turf.

Three consecutive wins, against Birmingham City, Luton Town and Wigan Athletic, at Pride Park has helped the Rams climb the table.

“At home, we have won our last three games and that's pleasing,” Davies said.

“We had missed winning home games and I have always said, and it is cliché, but they are you bread and butter. If you win most of your home games then you should be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t been backing it up away from home.

“We want to be more clinical, not in terms of the finishing, just in terms of that final ball and making sure we get into those areas to score goals.

“If we manage to do that then I’m more than certain our form away from home will start to improve.”